Front line officers felt 'outgunned,' Moncton massacre trial told

A senior RCMP officer says he told superiors he was concerned about the lack of firepower for front line officers long before the 2014 Moncton shooting rampage that left three Mounties dead.

Supt. Troy Lightfoot told the RCMP's trial on labour code charges Thursday that officers were feeling ``outgunned'' after active shooter incidents such as the 2005 attack in Mayerthorpe, Alta., that killed four Mounties.

But he said senior management became focused on the backlash stemming from the 2007 Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver, and he expressed concerns about the lack of resources being put towards arming front line officers with carbine rifles.

Lightfoot told Moncton provincial court Judge Leslie Jackson that an independent researcher was eventually hired in 2009 to research carbines for the force, about three years after he contributed to a briefing note recommending the RCMP look at carbines.

The national police force ultimately approved the high-powered C8 carbine rifles in 2011, but the rollout took time.

The allegations against the RCMP stem from its response to Justin Bourque's shooting rampage in Moncton, in which he killed three officers and wounded two others.

Police use of the C8 carbine became a central focus in the fallout from the Moncton shootings, with some officers complaining they were outgunned because they did not have carbines, which have a greater range than the officers' standard-issue pistols.